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Time to give 'hottest women' polls the cold shoulder

Upmarket lads' mag GQ has landed itself in a bit of hot water. Compiling its latest Sexiest Women poll, the US edition has unleashed a storm of controversy by listing women under their ethnicity and nationality.

Hence Slumdog star Freida Pinto walked off with the coveted 'Hottest Indian Chick', Ziyi Zhang is now officially 'Hottest Chinese Chick', while British rapper M.I.A is ... erm ... 'Hottest Pregnant Sri Lankan Chick'.

Meanwhile, Woman of the Millenium Beyonce's African Americanness is passed over in silence as is Mila Kunis' Ukranian roots and Kim Kardashian's Armenian ancestry. But then they're just 'American' and therefore the norm.

Critics allege that highlighting the ethnic roots of some women and not others suggests - to quote one - "that they are not beautiful simply because they are beautiful ... but are only attractive in the context of their own ethnicity".

Mmm. I don't know. Perhaps they are stretching a point.

Personally I reckon it's just the lads being laddish - and if they glide from casual sexism (sorry, appreciating the female form, indulging in a bit of post modernist irony etc) into casual racism, why the surprise?

Once you start treating people like specimens, the desire to categorise and sub-categorise can never be far away. After all, its just scientific appraisal, innit?

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Maybe, it's time for publishers and readers of such magazines to wise up themselves. World's Hottest Women? This sort of thing leaves most people feeling decidedly lukewarm.

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